How worried are business executives about the potential impact of the presidential election on their organization? New data from a Crowe Business Challenges Survey says 44% of execs have expressed concerns.
Executives, surveyed from late June through early October, were asked about the coronavirus pandemic, economic recession, the U.S. presidential election, civil unrest, and climate change/sustainability. Fifthy-eight percent said the coronavirus was a major concern and 52% said an economic recession was a major concern.
“Recessions generally create problems for a borrower’s ability to fully repay its loans," said Mike Percy, managing partner, financial services for Crowe. "For banks, the financial impact of credit problems – especially when the credit problems become more extreme due to an event like a recession – generally is much greater than the impact from changes in regulations.
"In some ways," he continued, "the recession and the pandemic are almost the same issue or have the same impact on a bank. Those who selected the pandemic as a greater concern probably are in locations more dramatically affected by it. Those who are more concerned about regulation changes related to the election might feel that the recession and pandemic are a concern, but because of their customer base, might experience less of an impact.
The election unease grew throughout the year: Thirty-seven percent of executives said they had high concern by mid-July -- and by early October that percentage soared to 52%.
“If the Democrats win the presidency, their two big plays will be coverage, that is, access to care, fewer uninsured, and cost," said Brian Sanderson, Crowe LLP managing principal, health care services. "If the Republicans win the presidency and the Democrats win the Senate, it will be gridlock in health care, with only marginal legislation – like price transparency – making it through. If it’s a Republican presidency and a Republican Senate, look for more private investments, such as digital health, ancillary providers, and big players making stronger plays under a market with fewer regulations.”
Election worry has been a big deal for many Americans.
A nation already uncertain about its future amid a worsening pandemic, an economic sucker punch and series of police killings that forced a national reckoning on racism is now contemplating the added threat of possible clashes in the wake of Election Day.
About 7 in 10 voters say they are anxious about the election, according to an AP-NORC poll last month. Only a third are excited. Biden supporters were more likely than Trump voters to be nervous — 72% to 61%.
As the coronavirus crisis surges to more than 9 million infections and 230,000 dead, the election for many is a referendum on how Trump has handled the pandemic.
Early voting numbers suggest 2020 will shatter voter turnout records. Nearly 100 million votes have already been cast, through early voting or mail-in ballots, which could lead to delays in tabulation.